By Ashley Dunkak
One week after Michigan defeated rival Notre Dame in a Top 25 matchup that drew ESPN’s College GameDay to the Big House, the Wolverines just barely avoided what would have been a staggering loss to Akron, a team that finished with 1-11 records the past three seasons, and fifth-year senior left tackle Taylor Lewan had a lot to say.
“It was embarrasing,” Lewan said. “Got to give it to Akron. They played a hard-fought game. We didn’t prepare. This is on the seniors. This is on the leadership of this team and extremely poor, poor leadership, especially on my side. Being the one offensive captain on this team, I put that offensive performance on myself. [Quarterback] Devin [Gardner] didn’t have enough time to throw, our running backs didn’t have enough holes, and that’s my fault.”
The Zips drove down the field easily, multiple times, on the Michigan defense, and only a goal-line stand by the unit prevented what might have been one of the most humiliating losses ever for the Wolverines.
While blaming Lewan for Gardner’s four turnovers – three interceptions and a fumble – seems like a stretch, Lewan continued to take responsibility for the team’s shortcomings, and he raged on how disappointed he was in the team’s approach.
“We didn’t prepare as a team,” Lewan said. “That is truly embarrassing for Michigan that we came out like that. It’s not fair to the fans, it’s not fair to the people that are associated with this program, it’s not fair to the freshmen on this team that aren’t playing. This is the seniors’ fault, this is the captains’ fault. We will not come out like this again.”
Still furious, Lewan predicted a dismal end for the Wolverines if they do not get themselves in order.
“If any guy on this team thinks they can do anything but prepare every single week – you have to take this as your job,” Lewan said. “You go to school, get your degree, you win Big Ten championships, and if we prepare like we did this week, we won’t win another game.”
Lewan even lashed out at the media as he talked about the time and effort the players have invested, particularly the seniors, in recent years.
“This senior class, Devin, Jake Ryan, we’ve all worked too hard, too hard to have games like this,” Lewan said. “Way too hard. Y’all don’t even know. Y’all just write s— down. We’re just ready to play. We’ll be ready.”